Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Whole Week Since I Posted

Poor poor form from me not to be posting more eh. There is honestly very little to say. I should probably do a couple of those posts where I pretend i know what I'm talking about and blather on for a while. I haven't been on a horse since the eye op. The eyes are doing amazingly I must say but I have my one week check up tomorrow and I'll know more then. I'll ride Thursday/Friday and maybe Saturday and be back hunting on Sunday. There are only three more hunts left on the calender and I want to get to them. Man I really need to start advertising Rascal but selling horses tends to be a long and painful process, especially in the winter.

I'm already so sick of the mud, but with only ten weeks until the season kicks off, I'm going to drag the old girls out of holiday mode and start getting them fit. Shoes on again tomorrow They have had over six weeks off. Connie needs time to get really really fit because she isn't a naturally forward horse. She needs to be fit so that she feels so good she just wants to go. I'm not feeling that positive about bringing Kately in. She looks sore in the paddock to me and while I think it's mostly baby TB feet with no shoes being sore, I'm concerned her knee may have worsened a lot. Still 3-4 weeks of easy fittening work- walking and trotting- and I'll know how sound she is and then take her back to the vet. I'd be rapt if we can get her sound again really really rapt because she is a hella fun horse when she is on form.

There is no training clinics organised this winter which is a bit average but hopefully something will come up soon because you just get sloppy without lessons. Then I'll need to start taking these guys to an arena once a week to really get them fit. I really really really want to get Bill going. How frustrating is a week without riding?? I think I'm just going stir crazy. I didn't even get to see them for a few days after the surgery to protect my eyes from dust and hay particles. It's madness, I missed them so much. I don't think they particularly missed me because their hay arrived on time and they seem to mostly care about that. Maybe they would love me more if I didn't make them compete haha. They do seem to quite enjoy it though. Connie who misses her flying changes pretty much constantly doesn't do that in the ring.

Do you think I could do it? Really do it. Jump a grand prix. Surely all you need is the right horse, that one horse you are bonded to that is a super talented animal. I wonder how long before I throw my leg over that animal if ever. It seems impossible almost like to big of a dream, but I'll keep working. I have to believe that the work is enough, that eventually it will fall into place and be worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Eyes

yesterday I had a very scary but painless surgery in which they lasered my very shortsighted eyes into good eyes. It hurt for about 6 hours afterwards quite a lot but it seems totally worth it. Now I just have to avoid infection and damaging the surface of the eye and I'm sitting pretty. My vision is already better than normal in the right eye and that's after only 24hrs.

It really was quite scary lots of lasers and lights and you can smell your eye evaporating and feel them tugging at the eye surface even though there is no pain, but I feel like it's a small price to pay after so many years as a glasses wearer. Contacts are expensive so I just ride in my glasses which means in the rain I don't see well. Hunting last time I had a run in a shower and couldn't see any of the fences I was jumping properly but obviously Rascal had in under control because we lived. The other issue is that during hot shows I warm up and sweat a little and when I stand and wait at the in-gate my glasses fog up because the air isn't moving over them. And sometimes my glasses slide down my nose. But not anymore. Boom town. So very excited. (Also very very poor- no winter holiday for me this winter)

I have had glasses since I was a little tacker and I was truly that smart totes nerdy kid and then I had braces and really I lived the stereotype. I always felt pretty subconscious about my glasses. I didn't later in life but I still felt like people saw the glasses before me. Now I just need to dye the hair a new colour and get dating and I'll be sitting pretty haha. LOL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Producing a hunter

Fatty Rascal three hunts into the season

So I have only been hunting for two seasons but I feel like I could probably share enough to teach you guys how to produce a nice mannerly field hunter. I guess firstly you need to have your horse with a good covering of fat because they are going to burn it off. I'm a slacker because I nearly always leave the field early, but I honestly think that three and a half hours is long enough for any horse. so yea your horse needs to have plenty of condition going into the season, especially if it's a fussy eater. They need to be fit too but not galloping fit just long distance walking and trotting fit. You can't ever have a horse fit enough for hunting because you would just wear them out. You let the hunting fitten them as you go. You do need to be aware in those first few hunts though that they aren't fit and be careful to pull up and let your horse have a break and catch it's breathe. It's easy here because we hunt hare which tend to run in big circles, so if you lose the hunt you just have to climb to the top of a hill and see where the hunt is. I 8understand in England if you are on a stag you might have a run of 20 miles which is insane. I would definitely get left behind. Though Kim said in Ireland you tended to hunt from patch of bush to patch of bush because the fox would hide out and then get flushed again.

The first key point when you first take your hunter is to put a green ribbon in it's tail to indicate that the horse is new to the huntfield so that people will give you more space. The second thing you need to do is have a really really boring day. The worst hunters to ride are the ones that just ran with the field from day one. They hear the hounds giving tongue and just follow the field ignoring the flailing of their rider because this is what they know. You wont to go out and cruise around the back. Jump a few select easy fences if you feel up to it and spend most the day just talking to people and watching the hunt with the occasional gallop with the field.

It's nice if you have a friend on a greenie so they two of you can hang out for the hunt and teach your horses that their world doesn't end if the hunt gallops off and leaves you behind. You also need to be aware that if your horse is starting to have a melt down and this is true of hunts 1- forever, you need to let them get their equilibrium back and just chill for or a while, or they become hot and nervous hunters. What happens is that when a horse gets really really tired and runs out of energy, they start to run on pure adrenaline and they are really unpleasant at this stage because they tend to lose their heads. I normally go in once this happens.

It always works that around the third hunt is when your green hunter is going to be it's very worst. That seems to be enough hunts that they figure out just how fun hunting is and they just want to get going! This season Rascal and my friends horse were both on hunt three the same day and there was a little bucking on Rascals part and a lot on my friends horses part and we ended up having a very quiet day just chilling at the back with the very occasional gallop and no jumping. This was good for them because on hunt four they were both quite mannerly. Even doing this your horse will probably still be a bit naughty hunting. Horses love hunting and they soon learn that the hounds giving tongue mean it's galloping time and so there are very few horses on the hunt field that don't get a bit excited and act up now and then. Especially as by about 5 or 6 hunts they are starting to get really really fit.

Rascal- fit and hard after hunt 10 despite no work apart from hunting twice a week.

It's important to stay selective about what you jump until you are really confident of what your horse is capable off. When you are on a run you will just jump what comes up and really surprise yourself, but when you are just jumping paddock to paddock while the hounds are still sniffing something out, I find this particularly hard because i'm such a chicken and it's in cold blood. Mostly it's fine I just need to ride a but more confidently to the fences. Now at about hunt 10 Rascal is jumping pretty much everything, even tricky spars but not the bigger fullwires. She can still run as a bit deep to the fences when she is excited, though I think this is also related to me not getting a strong enough canter to start off with. She really enjoys her hunting even though it still tires her out. You tend to see more falls and mistakes at the start of the day and at the end of the day. The start when everything is in cold blood and not really going yet and the end when people and horses making tired mistakes.

You may have to vary your equipment while hunting. Rascal went from a french link snaffle to a waterford snaffle, did two hunts on the second ring of a three ring happymouth gag and now I'm back in a single joint loose ring snaffle. Not the bit I use for flat work because the action is a bit sharp but she was happy in it last time. No hunting for a week or so though, at least 10 days. I'll tell you why tomorrow or the day after.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

I am 26! I don't know how I got so old considering I haven't grown up at all!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It wasn't really that long ago that I was looking forward to my birthdays. That changes quickly eh?? You start to get the feeling of time rushing away from you like sand through your fingers. It seems like there is never enough time, but at the same time there is too much time until the show season starts again! July I can start bringing in the big guns Kate and Connie back in. Everything needs to be fit before calving starts so I just have to maintain them through those horrible horrible weeks of 11-12 hour days looking after the cows and calves.

I guess now is as good as any other time to take a bit of a look back eh. This time last year I was three months into treatment for my depression and I honestly wasn't sure if I would ever compete again. I didn't know it but I'm about to get dumped too which will rock my world, but at the same time make me stronger and realise just how much I have grown up. Finally at nearly a year on I think i'm starting to be ok with being by myself. Though I do miss having someone to share my life with. Especially as Dan loved my riding and was my biggest fan and without his support I probably would have thrown it away, because he more than anyone pushed me to get help.

To recap the season before I had maxed out at 1.10m around December had a breakdown through January and started having panic attacks about going into the ring. Last show of the season I plinked around the 1m classes in a mild panic and it was a write-off really. Hunted that winter for the first time and created a slightly braver version of myself and a super improved version of Connie who was suddenly more forward and jumping across her fences. Terrible winter for abscesses last winter though and it was only with Connie that I stated the season at 1.10m so already I was ahead of last season. Some awesome clinics over the winter helped as well of course. Kate was soon on the team and I was not only completing the 1.10m classes but I was placing on both of them.

It was a dream season really. I had some setbacks of course. Connie jarred up on the hard ground and now Kate has this bumpkin knee but mostly it was a season of real successes and progress, even though we could be a little inconsistent. Highlights of course the clear round at HOY in the amateur class and placing in Connie's first 1.20m class. I feel bad that they are both Connie moments because Kate was awesome as well. Kate set the pace. I'd jump the higher height on her first get some nerve and Connie would follow her up.

Rascal had a pretty bad year but halfway through started to get her confidence back and jump with some more fluency. She then went out so I could focus on the big guns and found her niche hunting this winter. She has blown me away with her awesomness on the hunt field and that carried over to the winter showjumping so even if she doesn't sell this winter (fingers crossed) it looks good for the season to come.

Last June Bill was really green broke and now she is walk trot canter in the open and showing a bit of nice schooling when she is in consistent work. I really can't wait to have her going next season. Maybe for the August winter showjumping day she be competing as well. I get Lasik for my eyes next week and once that done and healed I'm going to get so stuck into Bill she wont know whats coming.

So the future I guess. I'd love to do some 1.30 classes with both Connie and Kate if I can fix her knee. I still have the goal to do a grand prix before I'm 30 and if (big IF) Connie has the scope potentially with two good seasons I could be doing that with her. Big big big IF! Ha dreams are free right. I'd love another season with Kate but realistically it may not happen. I feel like she owes me nothing though. I don't know what I'll do with a 12yr old TB if I can't get her sound again and if I can't free up the coin to put her in foal, but thats life I guess. I'll cross that bridge if I come to it. I'd love for Bill to be doing 1.10ms come season end, and Rascal too if she is still around but maybe in more of a showhunter rather than a jumper way.

Heres looking to the future I guess :)